Basque militant ETA chief ar­rested af­ter 17 years

The News-Times - - NATION / WORLD -

A long­time chief of the Basque militant sep­a­ratist group ETA was ar­rested Thurs­day in a French Alps town af­ter be­ing on the run for 17 years, Span­ish au­thor­i­ties said, proudly an­nounc­ing the cap­ture of a man ac­cused of crimes against hu­man­ity.

Jos An­to­nio Ur­ru­ti­coetxea Ben­goetxea, known by the alias Josu Tern­era, has been the most wanted ETA mem­ber since 2002. In­ter­pol, the global po­lice body, had is­sued a red alert against him. Span­ish au­thor­i­ties also ac­cuse him of mul­ti­ple killings and be­long­ing to a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

ETA, whose ini­tials stand for “Basque Home­land and Freedom” in the Basque lan­guage, killed more than 850 peo­ple dur­ing its decades-long vi­o­lent cam­paign to cre­ate an in­de­pen­dent state in north­ern Spain and south­ern France. The militant group gave up its arms in 2017 and dis­banded last year af­ter be­ing weakened by a sus­tained po­lice ef­fort to dis­man­tle its op­er­a­tions and ar­rest its lead­ers.

Spain’s In­te­rior Min­istry said Tern­era’s ar­rest took place early Thurs­day in Sallanches, a town of 16,000 in the French Alps, with both French in­tel­li­gence ser­vices and Span­ish Civil Guard agents tak­ing part. Span­ish au­thor­i­ties said Tern­era, 69, had been liv­ing near Saint-Ger­vais-les-Bains, a French win­ter sports haven close to the bor­ders of France, Switzer­land and Italy.

The Paris pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said Tern­era was ar­rested by France’s domestic in­tel­li­gence ser­vice DGSI, based on a 2017 French con­vic­tion in ab­sen­tia for in­volve­ment in a ter­ror­ist group. That ver­dict car­ried a sen­tence of eight years in prison and barred him from French ter­ri­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.